Stigma perceived by patients with functional somatic syndromes and its effect on health outcomes - A systematic review
SourcePsychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 154, (2022), article 110715
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Patients with functional somatic syndromes (FSS) experience stigma which arguably affects their health. AIM: To determine the presence of perceived stigma and its effects on physical and mental health in patients with FSS compared to patients with comparable explained conditions. METHODS: A comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Cochrane Library was performed to select studies focusing on stigma perceived by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia (FM) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), comparing these patients to patients with comparable but explained conditions. RESULTS: We identified 1931 studies after duplicate removal. After screening we included eight studies: one study about all three FSS, one about IBS, five about FM and one about CFS. We found that patients with IBS did not consistently experience higher levels of stigma than those with a comparable explained condition. Patients with CFS and FM experienced higher levels of stigma compared to patients with comparable explained conditions. All studies showed a correlation between stigma and negative health outcomes. DISCUSSION: Patients with FSS experience stigma and negative health outcomes. However, experiencing stigma is not restricted to patients with FSS, as many patients with explained health conditions also experience stigma. Whether stigma has more negative health consequences in patients with FSS compared to patients with explained health conditions remains unclear and should be assessed in future research.
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